In Duras’ footsteps. The black in the white.

Michaël Samyn, September 20, 2012

The piano in Bientôt l’été comes straight out of Marguerite Duras’ novel Moderato Cantabile in which the young son of the protagonist is learning how to play when the incident happens in the café. But there’s also a piano in Agatha. A black piano in an abandoned villa where the brother and sister make love.

One of the incarnations of the exterior of the café on the dike in Bientôt l’été is an abandoned building. The ruin of a colonial mansion refers to the many stories by Duras that take place in former Indochina, where she grew up, not as one of the idle rich she often describes but as a poor white person. The colonies are always a place of conflict in her work, romantic conflict, racial conflict, cultural conflict, class conflict.

The pile of coal in Bientôt l’été refers to the lower classes, back home, in Europe. The workmen in the factories. Working in the mine, digging for black gold. The rock is something else. It’s a symbol of pride, of majesty, of stubborn resistance, of faith, for me.

A black piano, blackened ruins, black coal, a black rock and a black lamppost. That calls for a rainbow, the ultimate symbol of naive hope.

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